Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the purpose of a global estimate?Accurate and reliable data is a vital tool in tackling complex social challenges. Not only does it raise awareness about specific issues, but it enables policy makers to take strategic decisions based on evidence, project implementers to target bottlenecks and development partners to address funding gaps.
Estimating the prevalence of modern slavery provides an overall scope of the problem, enabling targeted policies and actions to be developed at the global, regional and national levels. The 2017 Global Estimate of Modern Slavery will provide benchmark figures against which progress of global efforts to eradicate modern slavery can be measured.
2. What is Modern Slavery?The term “modern slavery” has not been defined by any international instrument. For the purposes of producing the 2017 Global Estimate of Modern Slavery, “modern slavery” consists of two components: forced labour and forced marriage.
The term “forced or compulsory labour” is defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), Article 2.1, as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily”. Forced labour includes practices such as slavery, practices similar to slavery, debt bondage and serfdom – themselves defined in other international instruments, namely, the League of Nations Slavery Convention (1926) and the United Nations Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery (1956).
Forced marriage is defined as marriage decided by someone else and without one’s consent.
3. When was the previous Global Estimate of Modern Slavery released?This will be the inaugural Global Estimate of Modern Slavery produced by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation (WFF). Previously, the ILO has produced estimates of forced labour along with the underlying methodology in 2005 and 2012. The WFF produces the Global Slavery Index, which provides an estimate of modern slavery country by country, and also a global total.
Importantly, the ILO and WFF are aligning their data and efforts, to produce a single global estimate that can be used as a benchmark of progress from 2017 onwards.
4. What is the methodology?Modern slavery is a rare event (statistically speaking), largely hidden and therefore difficult to measure. In recent years, there has been significant investment and considerable improvements made in methodology to measure this crime, including through survey methodologies that seek to overcome the technical challenges.
In 2017, for the first time, random sample, nationally representative survey data on prevalence of forced labour and forced marriage is available for more than 50 countries. Taken together with other pre-existing data, such as the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) database on assisted victims of trafficking, this provides a solid foundation for the strongest estimate yet of modern slavery. The estimate will provide a picture of the situation at global and regional levels.
The ILO is also leading an effort to bring together practitioners working on the measurement of forced labour to identify what the minimum requirements are for such an undertaking. This was recommended by the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians, which, in 2013, passed a resolution recommending that:
“The ILO set up a working group with the aim of sharing best practices on forced labour surveys in order to encourage further such surveys in more countries. The working group should engage ILO constituents and other experts in discussing and developing international guidelines to harmonize concepts, elaborate statistical definitions, standard lists of criteria and survey tools on forced labour, and to inform the 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians on the progress made.”
5. Where is the data from for the 2017 Global Estimate of Modern Slavery?The estimate will draw on the strongest data available globally including:
- Surveys undertaken jointly by ILO and Walk Free Foundation in 2016 in 27 countries. These surveys build on the respective experience of both organizations developing surveys to understand the scale of modern slavery. The surveys involved face to face interviews, with people around the globe, with all surveys undertaken in local languages.
- Surveys undertaken by the Walk Free Foundation between 2014 and 2016, providing data for additional 26 countries. These surveys draw on face to face interviews in all these countries in 53 languages.
- Data from IOM’s victim assistance database.
6. How will the figure be presented?The 2017 Global Estimate of Modern Slavery, consists of two components: forced labour and forced marriage.
The forced labour component of the estimate will consist of:
- State-imposed-forced labour;
- Forced labour involving commercial sexual exploitation; and
- Forced labour in the private economy.
In addition, the global estimate of the forced labour in the private economy will be disaggregated by:
- Sex and broad age group (adults and children);
- Branch of economic activity;
- Average duration in forced labour;
- Type of means of coercion imposed on the victims; and
- Region of residence and region of exploitation.
7. Who is responsible for the estimate?The Global Estimate of Modern Slavery has two institutional co-authors, the International Labour Organisation and the Walk Free Foundation. The International Organization for Migration is a contributing partner.
The Global Estimate of Modern Slavery will be released as an Alliance 8.7 product along with the Global Estimate of Child Labour, as part of a package called the “2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery and Child Labour.”
8. When and where will the estimates be released?Alliance 8.7, along with author organizations and partners will launch the 2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery and Child Labour during the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.
A series of regional and national outreach events around the world are also planned to raise awareness of the 2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery and Child Labour and to promote action to achieve SDG Target 8.7.
The global estimates will also be presented to the IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour which will, within the framework of SDG Target 8.7, address forced labour issues and in this context deal with quality youth employment. The Conference will be held from 14-16 November 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
9. When will the next estimate be released?Global Estimates of Modern Slavery are planned to be released every four years.
10. What is SDG Target 8.7?In 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)s: 17 interrelated goals and 169 associated targets to guide global development.
SDG Target 8.7 calls on governments to:
"Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms."
11. How will the estimates help achieve the effective measurement of SDG Target 8.7?The 2017 Global Estimate of Modern Slavery together with the 2017 Global Estimate of Child Labour, will provide global and regional figures against which progress of global efforts to achieve SDG Target 8.7 can be measured.
The 2017 Global Estimate of Modern Slavery will provide further insight into the extent of the problem with break-downs of figures by sex, age, branch of economic activity, average duration in forced labour, type of means of coercion imposed on the victims, and region of residence and region of exploitation.